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Swim team dives into practice
wim Team Members - May 1.jpg
The McMinnville Swim Team began practice last week in challenging conditions. A few of the swimmers are pictured, from left, Ellie Sutton, Natalie Payne, Olivia Stefanick, Clara Collier, Kelsi Caten, Ellie Ayers, and Claire Randall.

McMinnville Swim Team began practice last week in less than optimal conditions, yet there are 124 swimmers participating under the guidance of veteran head coach Paige Northcutt. 

The team lost last season due to COVID-19, but the interest in swimming has not sunk. Moreover, the number of swimmers is up this year. There were 109 swimmers registered last year when the team was unable to compete.

According to Northcutt, the team practices Monday through Friday. Coach Northcutt said, “We began practice last Wednesday. The water temperature was 72 degrees and it was overcast. Some kids have wetsuits, and some kids just tough it out. I got in the water as well.”

Northcutt continued, “This is a different year because of COVID. This is the first time in two years that we have had practice or even swim meets. What I look for is for the kids to gain more confidence in the water, to become better swimmers. And we compete against the clock as well as other teams because the other teams have indoor pools. Every team we compete against has an indoor pool except Lincoln County who goes to Huntsville to practice.”

The other teams which have indoor pools are Lewisburg, Manchester, Shelbyville, Winchester, Tullahoma, Sewanee, and Lawrenceburg. 

Northcutt is a former bronze Olympic swimmer and is a big proponent of increasing personal best times during the season. The McMinnville swimmers are at a competitive disadvantage against other teams who practice indoors year-round. Therefore, personal improvement is a good metric of achievement for McMinnville Swim Team members.